Academic Gap in Compulsory Education（義務教育における学力のギャップ）
Kansai International High School
You go there 5 days a week, study there to learn the basics to get you through life, and also make friends there that will be by your side for a lifetime. School and appropriate education are essential parts of who we are.
Recently in Japan, the educational gap forming between students regarding their studies in school has become an issue. Some students seem to be unable to keep up with the pace of study carried out in some classes. If teachers are incapable of detecting this confusion that some children may feel in class, these children will be left behind, unable to understand what is being studied. Today I would like to introduce some solutions on this growing matter, clarifying the importance of a proper education, and the negative consequences that the lack of it could lead to.
Imagine if your child was in school today, sitting in a class that he or she could not understand at all. Feeling confused and left behind, he or she will feel anxious, seeing other students answering the questions asked without a problem. This confusion and fear of failure in understanding the academic work done in class will gradually create a “wall” between the child and that particular subject. Some of these children are left behind at such an early stage that they grow up to become adults who are unable to read or write and stumble at the simplest math equations. Massive deterioration regarding the academic level of children left behind in school will lead to the appearance of adults who are unable to communicate, work, or make money in the general public.
This unacceptable situation must be fixed. Some of the ideas being suggested to fix this problem are the repetition of a grade or starting schooling in grades separated according to a child’s educational level. The first solution suggested was actually a suggestion made by Toru Hashimoto, the current mayor of Osaka. He announced that if a student does not seem to be keeping up with their studies we should consider letting students repeat the same school year regardless of whether they are in compulsory education or not.
The Basic Act on Education defines compulsory education as, “The objectives of general education, given in the form of compulsory education, shall be to cultivate the foundations for an independent life within society while developing the abilities of each individual, and to foster the basic qualities necessary for those who form our state and society.” According to this, wouldn’t ignoring the struggle a student is experiencing and promoting them, leaving them to grow up without the general education needed in society, be against what compulsory education is really supposed to be?
This suggestion has become a controversial issue in Japan. I presume that the Japanese society is shocked at this suggestion, as there seems to be a prejudice against repeating studies. Repeating is seen as a negative thing, demonstrating embarrassment. It also brings up the probability of children being bullied because of being in a grade below their own. With these concerns mentioned, I would like to emphasize the importance of changing negative prejudices held against being “kept down”, in order to find success in starting this solution. Although cultural beliefs take time to change, we must attempt to consider the adaptation of new ideas.
The second solution may be an easier idea to take into consideration. At the moment, some schools already make particular subject classes according to their academic ranks. If society features these kinds of schools, and promotes this idea utilizing the media, the initiation of this plan may be a great possibility.
Raising awareness of the importance of equal education is a necessary goal we must achieve. Considering different changes and suggestions may be scary at first, but it may well be the way to real equality in academic knowledge and status. A fair chance to learn and work must be provided to all people. I believe that efficient education can be the path to success. Everyone has the right to learn; everyone has the right to live.
- George Bernard Shaw
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